On November 30, Lacombe County Council adopted the County’s 2019 interim operating and capital budgets.
Following the priorities set out in the County’s Strategic Plan and its long-range road construction and capital equipment replacement plans, the budget reflects the desire to support the maintenance of existing service levels while managing the County’s spending in a responsible manner that reflects the current economic situation.
The $55,212,370 interim operating budget is balanced and supported by a 2.0% property tax rate increase for residential properties, a 3.5% tax rate increase for farmland and 4.5% property tax rate increase for all other properties and a transfer of $67,630 from the tax rate stabilization reserve.
The 2.0% property tax rate increase represents an additional $20.04 in taxes on a $400,000 residential property.
“Lacombe County Council voted to approve a budget for 2019 that recognizes the challenges and uncertainty that Alberta has faced since the economic downturn started – from a municipal, ratepayer, and industry perspective,” said County Manager Tim Timmons. “Less spending and smarter spending was our focus, and is the path we will continue down for the foreseeable future.”
The 2019 interim capital budget, which provides for revenues and expenditures of $15,827,070, sees a decrease of $13.105 million from last year’s budget. Highlights of the capital budget include:
- Carry-over funding to extend water and wastewater services from the City of Lacombe to County lands west of the QEII, including the Wildrose Industrial Park.
- Construction and rehabilitation of 19 kilometers of local roads ($4.5 million)
- Decreases in road projects ($12.2 million), bridge projects ($137,750), equipment/vehicle replacements ($676,410), and recreation projects ($158,400).
A Vision for the Future Each year Council works through the complex task of managing resources in order to maintain a balance between present needs and future growth.
“While it’s important to maintain service levels and to consider the County’s future sustainability, we recognized the challenges faced by our municipality and municipalities around Alberta,” said County Reeve Paula Law. “Council felt this budget will balance the reality of the uncertainties around managing a municipality with the expectations of our ratepayers.”
While the interim operating and capital budgets are approved in December of each year, the final budgets and tax rates are not set until the following spring, when the property tax levy for education purposes is set by the Province and property assessment values have been confirmed.
-Submitted by Lacombe County